JIM VIBERT: McNeil’s environmental record a litany of broken promises

Jim Vibert
The Chronicle Herald
November 21, 2020

Nova Scotia’s Liberal government has quite a story to tell on the environment, but unfortunately that’s all it has. The reality is a litany of delayed action and unkept promises.

… Since 2013, Nova Scotia’s goal — adopted unanimously by the legislature — has been to protect 13 per cent of the province’s total landmass for nature.

McNeil promised that his government would reach that goal in its first term. It didn’t. In fact, it hasn’t yet, seven years on.

The Parks and Protected Areas Plan the Liberals inherited remains unfinished business. The much-promised Biodiversity Act will die on the legislature’s order paper. The courts had to order the government to comply with its own law to protect endangered species. And implementation of the Lahey report’s recommendations on ecologically sound forestry proceeds at a snail’s pace, where it proceeds at all.

… When we last heard from Environment Minister Gordon Wilson on the subject, he was complaining that it was hard.

“The more you close in on your goal” of 13 per cent, Wilson said, “the tougher the decisions are going to be.”

Really? The province could achieve and surpass the 13 per cent target if it would only finish the job and designate for protection those sites identified in the 2013 Parks and Protected Areas Plan.

That plan was the result of extensive consultations with Nova Scotians, who identified several hundred wilderness areas, nature preserves and provincial parks that should be protected.

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